Archive | February 2016

How ‘clean’ is your data?

Scrub diskHopefully, if your ongoing marketing is having an positive effect on your customers and prospects, you are collecting a lot of data. There comes a time when you should take a closer look at the data you have, and are still collecting. While you have put a lot of time into defining your message for each channel, and ensuring that each of these channels are getting enough attention, there comes a time when you have to find out what this collection of information actually means to your business. How has your businesses’ database evolved, and how can you ensure that the signals you are getting from it are correct, and can further your sales?

Data may be the four-letter word that does irreparable harm to your marketing if it isn’t looked after, so ensure that you make the most of it, before your competitors do. Think about this: Up to 25% of customer data becomes inaccurate within one year. If you are making marketing and sales decisions on this, you stand a 1 in 4 chance of going down the wrong path, and wasting time by treading water in your marketplace. Here are four easy steps to ensure that you maximize your data, and they are easy to put into your monthly working practices.

1.        Maintain Field Completeness.

Either you, or your sales and marketing department need to identify who is doing what in your customer and prospect database. What fields are important to you: Name, address, or business, past purchases, size, or frequency? Of course, you can define all kinds of knowledge, but if your fields are being ignored by others in the company, then everyone may be looking at the same data, but receiving different signals. Ensure that everyone gets the same results by agreeing (or clarifying) the headers that enable you to keep your records straight.

2.        Take Action on Bouncebacks.

Don’t just delete those e-mail bouncebacks – use them. The average time of workers at companies is between two to five years. Even if someone stays at a company longer than this, their job title may change. Think of the amount of mergers and acquisitions that take place everyday, if you are working in a B2B market. These three factors may well be responsible for the returned mail you are getting.

Not only frustrating, this can lose you leads if you simply ignore them. If someone has left a position, find out who took their place, and track down where your contact went to. This doubles the amount of leads that you have! You know that a particular business was interested, along with a person: perhaps that contact’s new business would also be looking at your service? Does the new guy in the chair know of their bosses’ interest in your service? You need to at least save these returned e-mails as a possible new source for sales and marketing to.

3.        Make Sense of Unsubscribes.

While giving a prospect the opportunity to unsubscribe from your marketing gives them a certain amount of power, shouldn’t you get something from this, too? Come up with a system that addresses this, by finding out why. See how these lists grow, try to drill down to get more information, and alter your marketing system, before getting in touch with them again from a different perspective a few months later. Lists like this can feed the life-blood of a business, by teaching you what isn’t working from your prospect point of view.

4. Track Increased Engagement

It’s not all bad news: There is a reason why you are receiving positive feedback. Once again, you can find buried treasure to find out which channels are working and why. Are there certain messages working better than others? Find out why, and mould this message into a shape that will receive a more positive reaction from more prospect sources. You can even change the least popular of your positive marketing to try to bump up those figures.

There is something called Paralysis by Analysis that infects many companies: When you spend way too long studying results of marketing, and this impacts the speed at which your business reacts to changes in your marketplaces. Get accustomed to overhauling your data on an ongoing basis, and this will make your Analysis faster and more successful. These simple four steps will be a good starting point.

Your Facebook profile….Five minutes…more prospects

facebook logoSo, does social marketing really work? Give yourself 5 minutes with your Facebook profile, and find out how your own marketing can grow visitors to your business. Everyone in your office has their own personal Facebook page. Why not take advantage of the time they spend on it during working hours?

Of course, you may be a little more protective of your brand, so if you want to try this out yourself first, then you can decide whether or not to extend this facility to the rest of the office.

OK, here we go: Open up your Facebook page, and go to home. There is a small menu underneath that button on the right hand side of the page including the ubiquitous ‘More’ command. Choose this, and then select ‘Create A Page’. All of the instructions given there show you how to set up an entirely new business page for your business. You get to add the correct script, add the pictures you want, and start your own business profile.  What’s more, you can connect your personal profile to that business one, and your entire circle of ‘friends’ can now access your business for its daily or weekly updates.

When people want to learn more about you, chances are they end up on your “personal” profile rather than your “business page.” This is because you are using Facebook as Your Personal Profile, however, when you change this setting, you get more people directed to your Business Page with one simple click.

What better way to promote your brand (especially as a small business) as the person that runs the business – a real, live person. Prospects enjoy this. We have all shared the frustration of being shepherded through an automated system, when all you want is an answer. Here is a perfect moment to say: “This is us, and we are here to help.”, and to do so in a social setting, rather than ‘your own turf.’ A contact page on a company website still means that the prospect has to cope to you, whereas the social profile you publish allows you to go to the prospect in their ‘living room’, to be less intimidating and more approachable.

To grow your businesses’ marketing, have your entire office ‘like’ your business. When they do – and if you trust them – you can make them Administrators of your business site. This means that whenever anyone in the office has a business post to make: “Hey, looks like Mr. and Mrs. Jones are going to move to the Highlands area, after all”, it can be posted on their personal and your company’s page. Image five people each having twenty friends. Now, over 100 people can see your businesses’ update, and that could spread ever wider, faster, and in a friendlier fashion than you could ever hope for. All with Facebook!